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Council of Churches of Greater Washington
|5 Thomas Circle, NW, Washington, DC 20005
For Immediate Release
March 12, 2001
Statement on Washington, D.C. General Hospital
Officers and Board members of the Council of Churches of Greater Washington, at a
regular quarterly meeting on Friday, March 9, 2001, discussed the pending proposal
affecting Washington's D.C. General Hospital. What is under consideration is the proposal
from Doctors Community Healthcare Corp. of Arizona to provide, through Greater Southeast
Community Hospital, certain healthcare services now provided by D.C. General Hospital and
to arrange for the provision of other services on a reimbursed basis by other hospitals
throughout the city.
This proposal, supported by the Mayor and the D.C Financial Responsibility and
Management Assistance Authority (Control Board), has not won wide support among members of
the general public, the City Council, the D.C. Hospital Association, and many members of
the religious community, and has recently led to several angry confrontations between the
Mayor and community leaders. The proposal raises serious questions about the availability
of sorely needed healthcare services to uninsured or underinsured members of our
What should be a matter of civil deliberation among all interested and affected
parties, or their legitimate representatives, over the issues of how best to deliver
healthcare services to patients currently being served by D.C. General has deteriorated
into bitter and divisive quarrelling that threatens to polarize our community. We fear
that both our public medical and political health are being put in jeopardy in the present
atmosphere, and that this jeopardy could quickly turn into a crisis for both under the
pressure of the date of April 2nd now set for the turnover of D.C. General's functions.
- Under these circumstances, we add our voices to those beseeching the Mayor and the
Control Board to suspend the current deadline of April 2nd and to establish a realistic
timeframe for a careful re-examination of the alternatives for providing the desperately
needed healthcare services that D.C. General now and in the future could provide.
- We strongly believe that a commission of representatives of the community being served
and to be served, of medical and healthcare providers, of public and private healthcare
insurers, and of the political and religious leadership of our city is needed to conduct
an objective and thorough study to make recommendations to the Mayor, the City Council,
and the Financial Control Board on this vital matter that will affect our city for many
years to come.
- Careful reconsideration after an appropriate examination by a select commission would
help to gain greater public acceptance and support, restore the esteem of our public
officials, and provide renewed confidence that we are a people fully committed to and
capable of governing ourselves humanely as well as responsibly.
- We urgently recommend that the pending proposal be tabled in favor of the type of
reconsideration outlined above in order to avert a major setback, if not a disaster, in
provision of the healthcare services in question to those in greatest need -- or,
alternatively, that the issue of whether D.C. General should remain a public hospital be
submitted to a referendum.
Attested to by:
|Mrs. Annette C. Jones
|Rev. Robert A. Gessert